Constitution Day 2021
Resources for Highlighting the Enduring Importance of Our Constitution
The EUPISD, the League of Women Voters, and 4H have once again partnered to support regional recognition of Constitution Day. While we miss the opportunity to meet in person with our local legal professionals, we also believe the resources included here will help make Constitution-centered education meaningful for students in any setting. And we are VERY excited to have partnered directly with the Justices of the Michigan Supreme Court! We hope you take a few moments to view the collection and then use it with your students on Constitution Day and in the coming weeks. Also, if you have a chance to return to this site after using the materials to complete this survey to give us feedback, we will use the information in future planning. Thanks--and Happy Constitution Day!
NEW in 2021! Google Classroom Resources
All resources for Constitution Day are now housed in a Google Classroom for educators. Contact Helen Craig, Social Studies Curriculum Coordinator, for access to Google Classroom. Resources include:
- Story-based K-2 Programs: Themed stories on how rules are established, why we have rules, and who makes the rules. Each lesson is accompanied by a video read-aloud.
- Online Resources for 3rd-8th Grade: The Census Bureau, TED-Ed, and various other reliable and robust online resources are available to support teachers of grades 3-8.
- Keynote speech by Chief Justice Bridget McCormack.
- Court Cases: Court cases relating to the Bill of Rights for students to discuss and analyze. Discussion guides are available. Project Annenberg court cases are accompanied by video lessons and guides.
The Michigan Supreme Court's Chief Justice McCormack speaks about the enduring importance of our Constitution.
Chief Justice McCormack answers questions about the U.S. Constitution as a part of Constitution Day events.
The Justices of the Michigan Supreme Court Reflect on the Constitution
View this collection of pictures and quotes from each of the Justices of the Supreme Court, created expressly for our EUP Constitution Day event!
High School Resources:
Court Case Discussion Lessons
In past years, Constitution Day was an in-person event for government and civics students held at the Chippewa County Courthouse. Lawyers, legal aides, and volunteers ran discussion groups on different court cases that questioned whether someone's rights under amendments to the constitution had been violated. A small selection of those cases are presented below, along with lesson plan and question templates for high school teachers to access:
- Discussion questions & Lesson Plan
- Case Questions - Student Response Sheet
- Case 1: Furman v. Georgia (8th Amendment)
- Case 2: New Jersey v. T.L.O. (4th Amendment)
- Case 3: Tinker v. Des Moines (1st Amendment)
A one-stop-shop for all things Constitution-related, this award-winning site offers comprehensive resources including a Constitution Guide, videos, timelines, issues, games and interactives, PDF lssons, and iBooks. Selected lessons are presented below:
- The importance of the Japanese Internment Cases
- Right to Remain Silent: Miranda V. Arizona
- The Right to Trial - A conversation with Justices Breyer, Kenenedy, & O'Connor
Interactive Constitution Trivia Game
Created through a local partership, this competitive game leads students to consider various important aspects of the Constitution--and have fun while doing so! Who Wants to Be a Millionaire GUIDE: This document provides answers to all the questions in the game, as well as additional interesting facts, historical context, and explanations for teachers/students.
Through engaging web design, students will navigate this Interactive Constitution to learn about the text, history, and meaning of the U.S. Constitution from leading scholars of diverse legal and philosophical perspectives.
Middle School & Upper Elementary Resources
Ted Ed Video Lessons
- Amending the Constitution: When it was ratified in 1789, the US Constitution didn’t just institute a government by the people – it provided a way for the people to alter the Constitution itself. And yet, of the nearly 11,000 amendments proposed in the centuries since, only 27 have succeeded as of 2016. This video explains why the US Constitution is so hard to change.
- How is power divided in the United States Government?: Articles I-III of the United States Constitution allow for three separate branches of government (legislative, executive, and judicial), along with a system of checks and balances should any branch get too powerful. This video breaks down each branch and its constitutionally-entitled powers.
Census Bureau- Cross-Curricular Constitution
Lessons from the Census Bureau use historic population data to show how states' representatives and resources are distributed. Students will use math, examine charts, and use their geography skills in this cross-curricular examination of concepts outlined in the Constitution.
- 7th-8th grade lesson - Apportionment
- 5th-6th grade lesson - Constitution Day
- 3rd-4th grade lesson - Population changes
Interpreting the Bill of Rights
This lesson plan comes from Close Up Washington, D.C. The goal of this lesson is that students will understand the purpose of the Bill of Rights, what rights are protected, and the way those rights and interpreted and reinterpreted over time. Students will consider what rights are protected by the Bill of Rights and how they see these rights in the United States. Students will then look at recent Supreme Court cases that considered issues about the Bill of Rights and decide how they think the Bill of Rights should be interpreted. Resources:
Constitution Role Play
The Constitution Role Play from the Zinn Education Project asks students to think critically about a number of issues that confronted the original framers of the Constitution. But the role play adds a twist: instead of including only the bankers, lawyers, merchants, and plantation owners who attended the actual Constitutional Convention, the activity also invites poor farmers, workers, and enslaved African Americans. This more representative assembly gives students a chance to see the partisan nature of the actual document produced in 1787.
Rules & Laws - Introducing Concepts of Government (3rd-4th grade)
This PowerPoint featured on Florida Southern College's justice teaching site provides background knowledge or review at an elementary level on rules, laws, and branches of government. It provides knowledge then asks students to discuss if different rules are fair while justifying their answers. Please note - this resource works best if downloaded as a PowerPoint and shared on a projector with students.
Kindergarten-2nd Grade Lessons
The stories and lessons selected here have themes that fit well into how rules are established, thinking about why we have rules, and who makes the rules. Each lesson is accompanied by a video attachment of someone reading the story:
- No, David! by David Shannon:
- Lesson Plan
- Read Aloud
- Constitution Day Connection: On September 17, we celebrate the United States Constitution. A constitution is a set of rules that guides how a country or state works. The constitution might tell who can be in charge, what powers they get to use, and how the job works. It may also say what the people who live in the state or country are allowed to do. In "No, David!", David has a lot of rules to follow, but he is not very good at following them. While we read this story we are going to think about the rules at school and at home and how they help us be great classmates and members of our families.
- Sofia Valdez, Future Prez by Andrea Beatty
- Lesson Plan
- Extension Activities
- Read Aloud
- Constitution Day Connection: In this story, Sofia wants to change something about her community. She goes to her local government to ask them to remove garbage to create a park. She starts a petition in her community to ask other people to help make changes. A petition is a formal written request, usually one signed by many people, appealing to people in authority about a specific cause or issue. Our government follows the rules written in the United States Constitution. Our rights as citizens are protected in the Bill of Rights - the first 10 amendments (changes) - to the Constitution. In the very first amendment, citizens are given the right to petition their government. When citizens come together to sign a petition, it shows leaders that many people want something to change. They could be asking for a new park, or to change an unfair law. This is just what Sofia does in Sofia Valdez, Future Prez!
- Duck for President by Doreen Cronin
- Lesson Plans
- Read Aloud
- Constitution Day Connection: The authors of the U.S. Constitution didn't write down every job that the president has to do in the Constitution. They expected the first presidents to work out the details of the job with Congress and the Supreme Court (the other 2 branches of government). As a result, the first presidents helped shape the way all of our presidents make decisions, fight wars, work with Congress, add territory to the country, and even have visitors from other countries' governments visit. Our first president was George Washington. Since he had no rules to follow, George Washington realized that all of his decisions would define what it means to be the president. Ever since, different presidents have shaped the presidency in their own way—some say the job description is still changing even today. There are some rules in the Constitution that tell who can become president: Anybody who’s a natural-born citizen, over 35 years old, and a U.S. resident for at least 14 years can become president. Presidents are elected by citizens of our country who vote (choose) for the candidate that they want to win. How does Duck become president in Duck for President?
Don't forget to provide feedback for us through this short survey once you've tried out some of the resources! Thanks!